Chelsea face fight with Portuguese FA over Scolari

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The Independent Online

The Portuguese Football Federation said last night that Chelsea are keen to appoint Luiz Felipe Scolari as their next manager. "I already know that Chelsea are interested in Scolari," said the federation's vice-president Amandio De Carvalho when asked about the Brazilian's future.

Scolari is out of contract after Euro 2008, and the Portuguese confirmed that they want to hold talks with him about a new deal when the squad arrives in Switzerland on Sunday ahead of the tournament.

Scolari has also let it be known that he wants to sort out his future in the next couple of weeks which means that Chelsea may have to move quickly if they intend to choose him as Avram Grant's successor.

Gilberto Madial, the federation's president, is likely to offer Scolari a new contract and a pay increase – he currently earns €2.4m (£1.9m) a year. The former World Cup winner, who is increasingly unlikely to join Manchester City, knows that he could earn far more at Stamford Bridge. In some ways, however, the scenario is started to look like a re-run of the Football Association's pursuit of Scolari in 2006.

With still no consensus from the Chelsea hierarchy on whom they should move for to succeed Grant, the clubs and national associations who believe that their managers are under consideration are moving to shore up their men with new contracts.

Mark Hughes is the only British manager in Roman Abramovich's sights, but the Chelsea owner will not get his man cheap if he decides to try and do a deal with Blackburn Rovers this month.

Hughes' future at Ewood Park is protected by the same sort of rolling contract deal that Sir Alex Ferguson has with Manchester United.

Hughes agreed a two-year fixed contract deal with Blackburn last summer, with an extra year on a rolling contract. There are no plans at the club to speak to their manager (who is currently on holiday) about a new deal this summer because they believe the two years' notice that would have to be paid up on his contract gives them adequate protection. There have been no approaches yet from Chelsea for the 44-year-old.

The rolling contract was used by Ferguson when he signed his last deal with United in January 2004 and a similar arrangement means Blackburn can go down to the last year of a contract without fear of losing Hughes without compensation.

At the very least, Blackburn will be able to demand one year's value of the contract although that is not likely to be a problem for Abramovich. Hughes, who finished seventh with Blackburn in the Premier League this season, is understood to be the candidate that Peter Kenyon, Chelsea's chief executive, is backing for the job.

With no official contact yet for Hughes and an inquiry for the former Germany manager Jürgen Klinsmann – now the new Bayern Munich manager – rebuffed, it is only Roberto Mancini of the front-runners who has announced his candidature.

Mancini's drawn-out departure from Internazionale – he announced his intention to quit when they were eliminated by Liverpool from the Champions League in March – came to a close yesterday when Mancini's advisor, Maurizio de Giorgis, confirmed that he had been sacked on Tuesday. He said that there had been no contact with Chelsea, adding: "Roberto Mancini is not a person or coach who likes to propose himself to a club, he waits for a club to look after him so we are in that position right now.

"We are not proposing Mancini to any club, but Chelsea are one of the top five clubs in the world so it is more likely, if there will be any talk, for it to happen now rather than then."

Jose Mourinho is expected to be named the new manager of the Serie A club within the next two days.

The former Chelsea manager's interest in Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba is long-standing, but it now seems that he will also try to recruit his former defender Ricardo Carvalho, who also played for him at Porto, when he takes over the Milan club.

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